10 Early Reasons to Be Excited About the 2013-14 Premier League Season
The new Premier League season is upon us!
Well, actually, no it's not. We're still another two months away from the start of the 2013-14 campaign, but excitement is already starting to build amongst the fan bases eagerly watching what their teams will get up to this summer.
Preseason plans are announced, gossip columns link your side to the best striker and the worst defender, current players on international duty, start talking about their futures, and the interminable wait for it all to kick off again just seems like an age.
Fear not, for here are 10 cracking excuses to start getting excited and appreciating the build-up for what should be another brilliant season of Premier League football.
The Opening Day of the Season Is the Best Date on the Football Calendar
Mid-August, scorching temperatures (at least in theory), a brand new replica jersey on your back and a blank fixture list in front of you.
The possibilities of what could transpire over the coming nine months are endless, and before a single ball has been kicked, most of those possibilities are positive.
Everyone believes this could be the year it clicks into place, this will be the season that things go right, the boss knows what he's doing, the inconsistent would-be-star-man will knuckle down and produce his best displays on a weekly basis.
The first day of the season, everybody knows they're going to win.
Returning Familiar Faces
Next season will see one or two familiar faces returning to the Premier League scene, having been absent for a while for various reasons.
Jose Mourinho is of course back for a second stint as Chelsea manager, while Ian Holloway returns as manager of Crystal Palace. For very different reasons, "Mou" and "Olly" make for great viewing in their press conferences, or at least they did on their last spells.
Palace themselves are returned to the top flight after a lengthy absence in the Championship, with Hull City similarly recapturing a Premier League place they lost through relegation in 2010.
No doubt, there will be one or two players returning to the top flight they once graced too between now and the end of summer.
Like the names or hate them, it's always interesting to see how individuals and clubs cope with coming back for a new crack at the challenge of the Premier League.
Another New Big Rivalry to Enjoy
United and City. Liverpool and Everton. Arsenal and Spurs. Sunderland and Newcastle.
And now, Cardiff City vs. Swansea City.
As of 2013-14, for at least a year, 10 percent of the English Premier League will be made up of non-English teams, with the two Welsh sides set for their first top flight, South Wales derby in history.
Cardiff won the Championship this season by eight points, while Swansea completed a successful second campaign in the Premier League by finishing ninth and winning the League Cup—meaning that both Welsh sides picked up silverware.
Watching Big Name Signings for the First Time
One of the big attractions of any new season is the chance to see the newest and biggest signings on show for the first time.
Manchester City have wasted no time in bringing in Jesus Navas and Fernandinho, spending close to £50 million already in the process, while Liverpool have taken Kolo Toure off them on a free.
And we're not even in July yet!
There will be dozens of new signings to take in and analyse once the season gets underway—some great, some poor, and pretty much all of them under an intense spotlight from fans and media.
Everybody wants to be a winner, and everybody thinks they could do a fair job as a boss. How hard can it be to get top players to play well and win games, right?
Fantasy football leagues give us the chance to have some semblance of control over which players we'd pick, given the chance. A hugely popular past-time for fans of the Premier League, with a multitude of online sites to play within, fantasy football is always something fun to look forward to, especially in mini-leagues against friends!
New Objectives, Aims and Aspirations for Your Favourite Team
So, last season didn't quite go as planned?
Do not fear, for 2013-14 will doubtless be the campaign when everything falls into place. Plans will be adjusted, small details attended to which could make all the difference, and of course, new players will be added to the squad.
Whether a team just missed out on their objectives last season or they fell disappointingly short of them, the new campaign offers the chance to set things right. A good start will set the world to rights, instilling belief in fans and coaches alike once more that this time, it's going to be a season to remember.
All-Change at the Top of the Premier League
Some people might not quite appreciate that the Premier League often seems to be a race at the top between the same old names.
Over the past couple of seasons, Manchester United and Manchester City have been Nos. 1 and 2 in the Premier League championship race, winning one title each. This summer, though, both halves of Manchester saw their managers leave—Alex Ferguson through retirement and Roberto Mancini through not doing well enough and being sacked.
Not to suggest that the squads are suddenly going to be shown up as complete flops, but a new boss can often take a period of time to adjust to new surroundings and new players, and even if it only takes half a season to bed in, it will leave the title race wide open.
This could be an extremely entertaining title race in the top flight in England—and despite the big names and big transfer fees, at this point, there's no guarantee that either Manchester side will be involved.
Everything to Play For, World Cup Spots Up for Grabs
It's not just the Premier League itself which will be on show during 2013-14, the FIFA World Cup takes place in Brazil at the end of the campaign, meaning lots of pressure on the top players of the home nations to: a) qualify for the finals, and b) play well enough to make the squad.
England and Ireland both hold hopes of making the final 32 for next summer's showpiece event, and with most of the two squads made up of Premier League players, those men will have an extra incentive to play their absolute best this season.
All in all, there might be a few names who find an extra level this year—meaning an even better spectacle for the watching fans.
A New Era of Premier League Football Without Its Timeless Names
All are household names throughout England—even referee Halsey—having represented their teams or organisations for many years.
Next season, for the first time in almost two decades in some cases, their names will no longer be on any squad list. All seven have retired this summer after many years of service, quality, victories, goals, disappointment and struggle.
Between the first four on the list, they amassed a massive 252 international caps for England and, appreciate them or not as individuals, they represent an extraordinary loss of experience and ability for the Premier League.
A new generation of players will begin to shine, of course, but these names all deserve recognition for their achievements and longevity in the game in one way or another.
And, somehow, Ryan Giggs has outlasted them all.
Because We Love Club Football, and Three Months Is Too Long
Let's face it, as exciting as the end of the season can be, if your team is battling for honours or against relegation, one week later, we basically can't wait for the new season to start.
International tournaments can be great, a break away from the incessant stories and rumours of footballers can be nice, but ultimately, we just can't live without our day-to-day, week-to-week injection of club-level football.
Half of May, all of June, all of July and half of August; it gets to a point where it becomes unbearable. Even a preseason friendly on a Tuesday evening away at Exeter or Barnet suddenly becomes enough to get us excited and full of anticipation—and it's because we just love watching our team play.
Roll on 2013-14.